Parents' Guide to

Juan Bobo Goes to Work

By Dawn Friedman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Bumbling boy delights in Puerto Rican folktale.

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Marisa Montes takes traditional stories of Juan Bobo, the familiar and popular fool in Puerto Rican folk tales, and rewrites them to be more fun and friendlier. She does a nice job of bringing in Spanish vocabulary without lecturing. When Juan Bobo asks a question in Spanish, Don Pepe repeats it in English, making it easy to understand what he's saying without breaking the rhythm of the story. There is a glossary of the Spanish words in the back of the book.

The illustrations are rich and saturated with color. Juan Bobo skips along smiling and appealing, his posture always realistic. In the background are details (palm trees, mountains, and houses on stilts) that help readers get a sense of everyday life in the highlands of Puerto Rico. Kids will love shaking their heads at Juan Bobo's ridiculous assumptions but will be pleased when he finds his happy ending in spite of himself.

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